Summer 2006

SOCS 637
Race and Modernity

Eudell,Demetrius L.

06/12/2006 - 06/16/2006
Monday-Friday 09:00 AM - 05:00 PM

African American Studies Loung

This one-week immersion course examines the idea of "Race" as a belief system specific to the epistemological field of Western culture. It begins with the emergence of the concept in the 15th century in the wake of the voyages of Portuguese to the west coast of Africa and those of Columbus to the Americas. The course then analyzes significant moments in the history of "Race" such as with the expropriation of the lands of indigenous peoples of the Americas, with its articulation in Latin America and in the discourse of eugenics (subsequently invoked during the Third Reich), as well as with the central (though often invisibile) role its plays in U.S. electoral politics. Rather than viewing "Race" in the terms of the neo-liberal piety of aspiring for a color-blind society, or as epiphenomenon of a more supposedly fundamental class structure, or as a logical outcome of patriarchy, the course examines "Race" as an "organizing principle" central to the instituting and reproduction of our modern Western and westernized global civilization. It will therefore show that "Race" has taken the place of "myth" and religions in our secular (though still Judaeo-Christian) society, serving as an explanatory model and behavior regulatory mechanism, as the earlier forms had served for millennia in traditional agrarian societies. It can be argued that "Race" is but a modern iteration of the witchcraft complex.

Readings for the course will include: Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks; Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye; and excerpts from Michael Burleigh and Wolfgang Wippermann, The Racial State: Germany, 1933-1945; George Fredrickson, The Black Image in the White Mind; Richard Graham, ed., The Idea of Race in Latin America; Ivan Hannaford, Race: The History of an Idea in the West; Reginald Horsman, Race and Manifest Destiny; Vera Hyatt and Rex Nettleford, eds. Race, Discourse and the Origin of the Americas; James H. Jones, Bad Blood: The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment; Robert Jay Lifton, The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide; Ernesto Sagas, Race and Politics in the Dominican Republic; and Ronald Walters, White Nationalism, Black Interests.

Given the course schedule, students will be expected to have completed all of the reading and some written assignments before the beginning of class. A course syllabus will be available at the beginning of the spring term. Performance in the course will be based on six short response papers (3-5 pages) submitted in advance as well as an extended final paper (10-15 pages). In addition to these, oral presentation and regular contributions made to class discussion will be considered in the final evaluation of each student's performance in the course.

A syllabus for this course is available at:
Course Syllabus

Demetrius Eudell (B.A. Dartmouth College; M.A., Ph.D. Stanford University) is associate professor of history. He is author of The Political Languages of Emancipation in the British Caribbean and the U.S. South (University of North Carolina Press, 2002). Professor Eudell's research interests include the history and culture of the Americas, slavery, abolition, and emancipation. Click here for more information about Demetrius Eudell.


Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 18

Texts to purchase for this course:
Stefan Kuhl, THE NAZI CONNECTION (Oxford University Press), Paperback

Marc Mauer, RACE TO INCARCERATE (New Press), Paperback

Toni Morrison, THE BLUEST EYE (Plume), Paperback


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